Giant swimming pool alongside canoe slalom course will cater for 3,000 people; post-Games it will form part of huge recreational park
Organisers of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games have pledged to leave a legacy to the city’s residents and on Wednesday (23 December) a key part of the ‘pre-legacy’ was delivered with the opening of the X-Park to the public.
Part of Deodoro Olympic Park, the second largest Rio 2016 venue cluster, the X-Park will be home to three venues during the Games: the Whitewater Stadium, which will host canoe slalom, as well as the BMX and mountain bike circuits.
But from now until 1 March – and then again after the Games – the X-Park will be a giant leisure complex serving 10 underprivileged neighbourhoods that surround the venue cluster, being available to an estimated 1.5 million people.
For now, a giant open-air swimming pool is what is on offer, making use of the reservoir that during the Games will be where competitors get into their canoes before entering the course itself, and where they will return after taking on the whitewater rapids. The course itself will not be part of the public swimming pool.
“We are delivering this as an advance legacy for one of the poorest areas of Rio de Janeiro, so they can enjoy it during the summer. It’s going to be the best beach Rio de Janeiro,” said Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes, who opened the park alongside Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman and Sports Minister George Hilton.
About 500 people waited under the scorching hot summer sun that produced temperatures close to 40 degrees, until Paes gave the order and the kids dived into the pool. Inflatables, deckchairs, sun umbrellas, showers, snack kiosks and life guards are all provided, and swimming workshops will also be put on at the park, which will have a capacity of 3,000 people.
Entry will be free of charge, but controlled by turnstiles. The park will be open from 8am until 6pm Wednesday to Sunday until 1 March, when the city government will hand over the stewardship of the venue to Rio 2016 Organising Committee, to make final preparations for the Olympic Games, which start on 5 August.
The city government said that after the Games the pool will be part of a huge recreational park also featuring the Olympic BMX track, a mini mountain bike course, multi-sport courts, nature trails, bike tracks, skateboard facilities and a barbecue area, as well as an educational centre and a family health clinic.